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DRC militiamen still holding Ugandan fishermen

FILE PHOTO: Ugandan fishermen

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  | The hope of recovering the four abducted Ugandan fishermen is fading four days after they were abducted.

The fishermen only identified as Okello, Jawia, Onen and Osaga from Kijangi landing site in Tonya parish Buseruka sub county, were allegedly abducted on Thursday night from the Lake Albert by suspected militiamen from Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.

The fishermen were allegedly put at gunpoint before the militiamen crossed with them to DR Congo.

A day after they were reportedly abducted, the abductors called their relatives and demanded for a ransom.

However, since then, the whereabouts of the fishermen are unknown. This has created suspicion that they could have been killed by their abductors.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson says that efforts to contact their counterparts in DRC to establish the whereabouts of the fishermen have proved futile adding that even the relatives of the fishermen have failed to locate them.

According to Hakiza, police is working closely with the relatives of the abducted fishermen to establish their whereabouts.

Hakiza, however, says investigations into the matter are on-going to establish whether they are still in the hands of the Congolese militiamen.

Attacks on Ugandan fishermen by suspected armed Congolese have been common since last year.

Last month, armed Congolese Militiamen gunned down three Ugandan fishermen near Kaiso landing site in Kabale parish Hoima district.

In March, suspected armed Congolese Militia staged three different attacks on the Lake Albert in Buliisa district, robbing 30 boat engines from fishermen and in November, five Ugandan fishermen were hacked to death and their fishing gear stolen.

Another attack in the same month led to the death of seven Ugandan fishermen. This attracted the attention of the Chief of Defense forces-CDF David Muhoozi who rushed to Kaiso landing site in Hoima district for a fact-finding mission.

He assured the fishermen of full protection by the government against the Congolese but since then attacks have persisted on the lake.

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